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China to allow foreign firms to own stakes in finance sector

By Sheetal Sukhija, Hong Kong News
11 Nov 2017, 09:45 GMT+10

BEIJING, China - In a major reform push that comes as part of Chinese President Xi Jinpings economic plans, the worlds second-largest economy has decided to allow foreign buyers to invest in its financial sector.

China said that it would ease restrictions on foreign ownership of bank and insurance sector firms, and allow foreign firms to own majority stakes in banks, fund managers and insurance companies.

Making the announcement on Friday, the government said that Jinping continues to push his reform agenda following the cementing of his leadership at the Communist Party Congress.

Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao, said that foreign firms will immediately be allowed to own majority stakes in Chinese companies in the futures, securities and funds markets.

However, Guangyao pointed out that full ownership would not be permitted for at least three years.

Under the new rules, insurance firms can be fully owned in five years, a reform which was also part of a major push by President Donald Trump in his discussions with Jinping that began earlier this year in Mar-a-Largo.

Following the announcement, shares in China-based Ping An Insurance, the world's largest, were marked 5.38 percent higher in Shanghai trading while rival New China Life Insurance rose 5.66 percent.

China Pacific Insurance Group reportedly gained 4.47 percent, while China's benchmark CSI index closed the Firday session 0.88 percent higher at a 2017 high of 4,111.91 points.

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